Aldi Have Started Making Snowboard Gear... But Can It Actually Survive A Day On The Hill?
You can't go wrong with a £19.99 jacket and £7.99 goggles... or can you?
What do you picture when you think of Aldi? Cheap food, own brand alcohol and biscuits in strange foreign packing, perhaps. Ski and snowboard gear? Probably not.
Yet little did I realise that Aldi have launched their own range of snow wear. Alongside the bargain price meat and odd array of car accessories, you’ll find a full selection of ski/snowboard jackets and salopettes (both basic and 'pro'), merino wool base layers and Nordic jumpers.
The full outfit including jacket, pants, goggles, helmet and the rest cost just £114.92
When we heard you could buy a set of jacket and pants for £37, we knew we had to try it out.
Two days later, a giant box stamped Aldi arrived on my desk. Inside I found matching jacket and salopettes, a fake fur velour mid-layer, a thermal top and leggings, gloves, goggles and helmet. The full snow outfit cost just £114.92. Too bad there were no German biscuits hidden inside.
This might sound like a lot, but when I added up what my current snowboarding outfit cost, it was well over £650.
That evening as I danced around the living room snapping the braces on my salopettes, I asked my boyfriend what he thought. “You just look like a regular punter," he shrugged.
Two weeks later when I rolled into my local ski car park, I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of embarrassment. What am I doing? I am wearing head-to-toe punter gear and I'm worried if I bend over my trousers will split. What if someone sees me?
Then the other side of my brain kicked in. “Don’t be such a douche bag. You just look like a regular person rather than a overly baggy, frameless goggle-wearing, swagged up seasonaire. Shut up and go riding."
I yanked my helmet and goggles on, and made a beeline for the gondola, praying I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew.
What was it like to ride in Aldi snow gear?
Up on top of the mountain, it started to snow pretty hard. I sat down to strap in and I could feel the trousers tighten around my waist.
As a snowboarder, I’m not used to wearing salopettes. These trousers were so high-waisted, they would make Simon Cowell blush - plus they gave me a rather unattractive (and unavoidable) camel toe.
The salopettes were so high waisted they would make Simon Cowell blush, plus they gave me a rather unattractive camel toe
The jacket wasn’t bad. It even had a powder skirt and a sleeve pocket for your lift pass.
The base layers were also pretty great. Aldi do offer merino wool versions, but I was just wearing their regular polyester numbers. Still, they kept me super warm even if there was a definite whiff coming off them by the end of the day.
The helmet was pretty standard, shiny black with ear warmers. Bizarrely, it came with a flashing red light on the back. What could you possibly want a disco light on the back of your helmet for? Emergency descents? Impromptu slopeside raves? To warn people of a heavy load reversing?
The gloves were, again, not bad. They were Thinsulate mittens that genuinely kept your hands warm. I leant them to a friend for a week and she agreed, not bad but they started to go bobbly inside pretty quickly.
By far the worst item was the fake fur velour mid-layer. “It feels like someone’s dead cat," a friend said when she saw it. It may resemble a deceased feline, but man, that thing can keep you warm. I was practically drowning in sweat after my first run.
The goggles looked fine from the outside, but by the end of the day I was ready to throw them into the nearest bush.
They were misted up pretty much as soon as you put them on. In a white out, I couldn't see a damn thing. This did not make me any friends on the mountain, as I ran over a number of unwitting skiers due to my blindness.
The goggles looked fine but by the end of the day, I was ready to throw them into a bush
The snow turned into hail. I saw the water beading on the surface of my coat and trousers. Nice, I thought, they’re waterproof.
As it kept snowing, the water began to seep through until I could feel a damp patch emerging on my back and butt. OK, maybe not as waterproof as I thought.
By the time I'd dried off and the sun came out, I’d almost forgotten I wasn’t wearing my regular gear. Apart from the goggles. No one can forget being semi-blind for half a run.
Would I recommend them?
If I were a skier coming to the mountains for a week for the first time and I wasn’t sure whether this was the sport for me, I would genuinely consider buying Aldi ski wear. It’s cheap, warm and will do the job.
While it wasn’t 100 per cent waterproof and the trousers hugged a little too tightly in the wrong places, overall Aldi ski wear is not awful ski wear. I would definitely tell people to grab a few of those base layers.
However, if I were planning on riding any longer than a week and thought I might ski or snowboard in the future, I’d invest in some proper technical gear.
Nothing beats a super warm Gore-Tex jacket and pants that keeps you dry to the core.
Oh and don't bother with those £7.99 Aldi goggles. You'd be better off saving yourself the aggro and using that cash for a couple of pints.
ALDI Ski Specialbuys range is available in stores while stocks last
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